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Lets Talk About NMM


Gargs
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44 minutes ago, GHarris said:

 

I think if anyone is fairing worse in a live painting competition because they didn't use NMM it means you need new painting judges!

I agree, on both sides of using or not using NMM. A judge should be looking at execution of technique, not at the popularity of the technique.

44 minutes ago, GHarris said:

Even if you paint NMM perfectly, and it looks gorgeous in a picture, you still technically painted metals wrong for a live competition because reflective highlights on metal don't look like that when you see the model from different views. 

 

44 minutes ago, GHarris said:

...in a competition you should be thinking about whether your piece is going to be viewed as a 2D object in a picture or a 3D object viewed in the round. 

I disagree to an extent. If I want to push myself as a painter, and NMM is the technique I've chosen, I shouldn't be penalized just because the competition is in person rather than via photograph. My execution of the NMM attachment should be judged on its own merits.

It's absolutely true that NMM is not realism and will not look correct from all angles, but A) that's not an indictment of the painter's skill so much as it's a limitation of the technique, and B) what we do is not realistic to begin with.

Adding green to red shadows in order to increase the appearance of depth is also "wrong" from a realistic standpoint, as are many of the other basic techniques we use just to put a basic trooper on the table. 

 

Of course, I imagine the "on it's own merits" sort of judging is easier to come by at the kind of open competition used at Reapercon, where there are any number of medalists. At something like Crystal Brush, where your work is simply cut from competition if it doesn't hold up, it might be better to try to play more to the judges by avoiding NMM. I don't know, as I've never entered that style of competition other than via the Internet and photography.

 

I do agree with your idea that it's important to consider context. While I feel that the choice to use NMM shouldn't knock me out of the chance for a medal in an open competition, I could see how it might figure into a best-in-show run, or a first-second-third positioning. 

That's where I think composition really plays a role... If I want my OSL to work really well, I might add a tree or wall to my figure, to give the light something other than the mini to shine on. For NMM, creating a wall behind the figure that forces the viewer to look at the mini from a certain angle can help sell the illusion. This is a bit like building a miniature diorama for a single figure, but it's what creates the sort of story that helps a mini stand out.

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Actually, I think more to the point is that everything we do, when viewed "in hand" can have the potential to be "wrong". When we highlight, we do so with the idea that the light source is coming from direction "A", but if the judge is looking at the mini and there is a light source coming from direction "B", there's a good chance that the highlights will look off. 

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From a judging point of view, at least for Reaper Con, we are only looking at your ability to execute the technique. We do not factor in popularity of the technique, although within the realm of competitions NMM is far more popular than shaded metallic.  When a judge is looking at highlights we are certainly aware of the light (or lack there of) in the competition room and can evaluate the model based on the conditions. We do look for things that are highlighted "wrong" so if you have elected to use the NMM technique and you have painted it with multiple sources of light (i.e. the back of the mini is highlighted exactly like the front) and don't have an obvious source for the second light source you are going to get down graded. The same is true for the highlighting of gems if you have multiple light sources make sure the gems are highlighted accordingly, if there is a single light source then the gems must be highlighted that way. All of the judges at Reaper Con are experienced painters and instructors and competitors so don't worry about us not being able to tell where your light source is from.

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5 hours ago, Gargs said:

Actually, I think more to the point is that everything we do, when viewed "in hand" can have the potential to be "wrong". When we highlight, we do so with the idea that the light source is coming from direction "A", but if the judge is looking at the mini and there is a light source coming from direction "B", there's a good chance that the highlights will look off. 

 

You are absolutely correct with about everything except for reflective surfaces, like metals. Once you establish light sources the shading and highlight on anything non-reflective stays the same regardless of your viewing angle. If you walk in a circle around a dining room chair the shadows and highlights stay still! 

 

Now try the same thing with a piece of metal. Walk in a circle around the shiny piece of metal. Note that the shadowing stays the same and the general highlights stay the same...but the reflected highlights and the metallic sheen moves according to your viewing angle. NMM will not do that.

 

As you change the viewing angle of, say, a model's sword painted with NMM you will see it turn from "cool metal effect!" to "huh, he has a grey sword" to "hey, it looks like metal again!" to "nope, it's just grey". That is why NMM is always highlighted "wrong" in a live viewing, and that is why it is better as a 2D technique.

 

I think NMM just got popular because it is hard to do. It is true that it does take some skilled blending to pull off, which really is true of most advanced painting levels in general, but I also think that a large part of the "mystery" of how to make NMM "look right" is coming to terms that it technically will never "look right". Even on the most gorgeously painted NMM models you have ever seen you can just turn the viewing angle just that little bit and the NMM illusion is gone.

 

I also suspect part of the bias towards NMM is because people mostly only see the best examples in picture form, aka in 2D format where the technique really shines! (pardon the pun)

 

If you are in a painting competition you can't just give NMM a free pass because it is "difficult", you have to take into account that the metal is not interacting correctly on NMM areas when they are viewed at the "wrong" angle. If your beautifully painted NMM sword turns grey when viewed from the "wrong" angle it should count against you in a live painting contest.

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On 2/2/2018 at 4:48 PM, GHarris said:

 

...snip...

 

I also suspect part of the bias towards NMM is because people mostly only see the best examples in picture form, aka in 2D format where the technique really shines! (pardon the pun)

 

If you are in a painting competition you can't just give NMM a free pass because it is "difficult", you have to take into account that the metal is not interacting correctly on NMM areas when they are viewed at the "wrong" angle. If your beautifully painted NMM sword turns grey when viewed from the "wrong" angle it should count against you in a live painting contest.

 

As a judge I would disagree with this assessment. I would never downgrade NMM because it looks "wrong" from certain angles. We evaluate how well the technique was executed, if it only looks fantastic from a single angle that's fine, as long as everything is consistent when viewed from the correct angle then that's how the miniature will be evaluated.

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On 2/2/2018 at 8:48 PM, GHarris said:

 

You are absolutely correct with about everything except for reflective surfaces, like metals. Once you establish light sources the shading and highlight on anything non-reflective stays the same regardless of your viewing angle. If you walk in a circle around a dining room chair the shadows and highlights stay still! 

 

Now try the same thing with a piece of metal. Walk in a circle around the shiny piece of metal. Note that the shadowing stays the same and the general highlights stay the same...but the reflected highlights and the metallic sheen moves according to your viewing angle. NMM will not do that.

 

Sorry, that is simply wrong. The fact that most non-reflective surfaces absorb a lot of the light so you are less aware of the "reflection" on them is a perception thing, not reality. IF the lightsource stays the same, shadows and highlights stay the same. When you say NMM does not work, typically, is because you are changing the light condition on the piece relative to the viewer when moving the mini around.

 

Which is why, most of the time, I prefer NMM. TMM has an issue of creating dissimilar lighting situations between my usual "matte" highlights and the metallic reflection when the light situation is not aligned with my chosen light source (I typically paint a very slanted to the left lightsource). The artistic license being what it is, in reality, very few NMMs are painted as "it should be in real life" because we force contrast. Therefore, you can make the piece work in an artist sense in a variaty of angles.

 

After all, this is a piece of art, and I am aiming at "oooh pretty" no "ooooh photorealistic", which is a conscious choice. Discussing merits of one method over the other without taking that into consideration is, IMHO, an exercise on discussing personal taste.

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